Hunt Store History
The Hunt Store, or “The Store” as the locals call it, has been in existence in its current location for over 67 years. Zander’s Grocery was opened in 1946 by Whitlock “Whit” Zander and W. B. “Banks” Kellogg. Kellogg owned the land the store was built on and Whit had previously worked at the Hardin Grocery Store as a butcher and helper. The Hardin Grocery Store was located upriver from The Hunt Crossing at the Hwy 39 & Hwy 1340 intersection. The post office and a gas station were also located in this building during this period. Today, Robert Tomlin construction occupies the building.
Over the years there have been a variety of owners of The Store, and with each owner, The Store takes on a greater role in serving the Hunt community. Beginning with the refrigerated food lockers that Zander rented to locals for their meat and venison to the addition of the town’s only bank by Jack and Janet Parks. This approach to serving the community has led The Store, in many ways, to become much more than just a store.
The community center, emergency center, meeting point, drop off point and local hang out are all words that describe The Store today. Whether it is live music events or café’ dining for the whole family, Hunt School and Ingram School events and meetings or a soap box for local politicians The Store is the hub for all Hunt area activity.
Hunt Store and The Locals
One of the charming customs The Store has developed over the years is the early morning gathering of locals around the fireplace and in the café’ discussing the day’s news and activities. Often times waiting on the porch for The Store to open, they enter The Store not as a customer, but as an employee as they help bring in the newspapers, put down chairs and make the coffee. Many will come again for lunch or to enjoy beers on The Patio in the afternoon and all have become an important cog in the daily life of The Store.
Throughout the community, it is this group of men and women that are also the first to respond in the time of an emergency for anyone in need. Whether it is a brush or range fire, a medical emergency needing to get across a flooded river crossing, a tourist with car trouble out the North or South Forks or a desperate store owner needing help with a flooded store, they are always willing to help in any way they can.
It truly is this mix of local craftsmen, businessmen, and workers that give The Store its special place in the community. Please drop by The Store when in the area for a cup of coffee and get to know some of the locals that give Hunt and The Store its special feel and unique character.
Whitlock Zander and W.B. “Bangs” Kellogg establish Zander’s grocery store at the site where the present day Store is located.
The partnership between Zander and Kellogg is dissolved, Zander continues to operate ‘Zander’s Store a.k.a. The Store as the sole proprietor. World War II surplus refrigeration equipment was installed and for a long time, The Store served as the only place where locals were able to refrigerate beef and venison.
Whit Zander retired and sold The Store to Harry Rehm.
Larry Graham and D.W. “Bud” Wright bought The Store from Harry Rehm’s widow, Marvel. Soon after the ‘new’ store was constructed using cedar posts and river rock from Honey Creek.
Larry Graham divests of The Store, selling his share to Bud Wright so that he could give his full attention to Camp La Junta.
Bud Wright sells The Store to Irvin “Buddy” Henderson. Buddy Henderson adds the meat processing business to The Store by adding a new cooler, freezer, and two smoke houses.
Buddy Henderson sells The Store to Bert Winston and Eddie Sears. The era of ‘Hunt Happenings’ commences. A local band is put together which goes to Singapore to perform for two months. The band included Hunt’s own Joe Vorhes and was managed by Bert Winston.
Mike Hickey bought The Store. He built the dance hall (patio).
C.F. “Frank” Sorrell bought The Store and ran it together with his wife, Barbara. Monday night football at The Store became a weekly event. Wednesday Night Steak Night began and took off.
Bob Denson, county judge, and practicing lawyer, bought The Store from Barbara Sorrell after the death of Frank Sorrell.
Jack and Janet Parks bought The Store from Bob Denson.
The Store is sold to a group of investors, including Mike & Evelyn Hickey, Larry Howard & other partners.
John and Vikki Dunn became the 11th owners of the Hunt Store in June, 2013.